Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Top 100 Canadian Songs Of All Time: Part 3 (#50-26)

50. "The Bazaar" - The Tea Party

When I first heard this song via music video on Much Music I couldn't erase it from my mind. I needed more of it, of course this was before the days of downloading and instant media availability, so I had to wait until radio or TV allowed me to hear it. This Windsor trio have been to the top of Canadian music mountain, broke up and reunited. Surely to go down as one of the greats in the Canadian music scene.

49. "Call It Off" - Tegan & Sara

Twin sisters from the East coast Tegan and Sara have crafted a simple, melodic tune, but it speaks to something deep inside all of us. Whether we're willing to admit it or not. "Call it Off" also uses their dual vocal abilities perfectly.

48. "Head Over Feet" - Alanis Morissette

From the sheer juggernaut of an album Jagged Little Pill, "Head Over Feet" was apparently written in under an hour with Alanis' producer Glen Ballard. It's a refreshing love song from the female's perspective, and features a wonderful mix of instruments, including a harmonica solo (Which Alanis learned for this album) a definite bonus in my book.

47. "Morale" - Treblecharger

In the 90's Treblecharger were the epitome of Indie Canadian cool. Writing catchy, yet reflective music which fit perfectly for a generation unsure of itself. Once "Morale" starts its damn near impossible to switch off. Sadly, Treblecharger took another direction on later albums and really lost my interest...and the interest of a whole country apparently.

46. "Unsound" - The Headstones

Featuring Canadian punk legend Hugh Dillon, The Headstones are wildly known for their cover of "Tweeter & The Monkey Man" by the Travelling Willburys. "Unsound" for me, however, was their swan song. It's catchy, in yer face and brought some attitude to Canadian rock. Hugh went on to a moderately successful acting career, perhaps best known for his role in Hard Core Logo.

45. "Political" - Spirit Of The West

From Vancouver, BC Spirit of the West were known to have a tinge of East Coast flair on their songs. Best known for a certain song that is usually played as a bar is closing for the night, "Political" has a constant rhythm and joy that always held it in a higher regard in my mind. Love the mandolin as well. Would have loved to see these guys perform live.

44. "Man I Used To Be" - K-Os

"The things that I said I wouldn't do...I did 'em" One of my favourite opening lines ever! K-Os is Kevin Brereton and is one of Canada's most celebrated hip-hop acts. This song samples Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean", but it really takes on it's own identity through remarkable lyrics and atmosphere. I think we all wish we could be as we once were at some point.

43. "Rockin' In The Free World" - Neil Young

Such an iconic tune, timeless lyrics, a kick-ass vocal performance and just an all around great Canadian song. Another song thats been covered countless times, but an insane number of artists. It really shows why Neil Young is as respected and popular as he is.

42. "Shine" - The Doughboys

Yes even one-hit wonders deserve their spot on the list. The Doughboys were from Montreal and front man John Kastner was often mistaken as the lead singer from Rusty. What, 2 white guys can't have dreadlocks?
It's almost a crime for "Shine" to be so catchy, it demands multiple listens and will forever remain timeless.

41. "Theif" - Our Lady Peace

The best song on Happiness Is Not A Fish You Can Catch is undoubtedly "Theif". Inspired by a young girl with brain cancer, it's a horribly sobering song that boils over with human hope and beauty at the same time. I wish more artists could connect with an audience, fans or not, in a way that Our Lady Peace did so ardently here.

40. "Dreaded Fist" - The Rascalz

Vancouver's Rascalz made a buzz in 1998 when they refused their Juno award for best Canadian Hip-Hop artist. Their protest was that the award wasn't televised live like the rest of the awards, instead it was handed out the night before. Rascalz won the following year and were featured heavily on the televised event. "Dreaded Fist" remains one of Canada's finest hip-hop songs.

39. Jean Leloup - "I Lost My Baby"

Of all the bands from Quebec on this list, Jean Leloup is the first inclusion with a song sung almost entirely en francais. "I Lost My Baby" is a delight, pure and simple, no matter which language you speak. Even if you don't understand the words you can hear the pain and longing in his voice. Love the fact that he left the backing vocal girl's mistake in there as well, helps make the song, like feedback in Bob Marley's "No Woman No Cry"

38. "Smoke Baby" - Hawksley Workman

Babies everywhere!!!! Hawksley's 3rd and final appearance is this magnificent offering from Lover/Fighter. A jazzy, noire and sultry song about a toxic relationship. Love the pacing, the rise and fall and the rap break in the middle of the song.

37. "Stadium Love" - Metric

From the thunderous first drum beats to Emily Hine's smokin' sexy voice, how can you consider "Stadium Love" anything but great. Though I feel Metric are very hit and miss with their songs, some are great, some are quite forgettable. There is nothing weak about this one though, must be played loud!

36. "Ahead By A Century" - The Tragically Hip

1996's Trouble At The Henhouse saw a new generation of music fans being introduced to Kingston's Tragically Hip, mainly due to this track. It received gratuitous play on Much Music and why shouldn't it have?  A timeless opening guitar riff and lyrics that remind listeners of their own youth. A time when things were much happier.

35. "Sundown" - Gordon Lightfoot

Often cited as Canada's greatest songwriter, Gordon Lightfoot earns that distinction with classics like "Sundown". Like many great songs "Sundown" was inspired by a woman in Gordon's life, though this one would go on to "hurt him the most". Atleast it didn't stop him from having a celebrated life and many years of great, inspirational and powerful music.

34. "Between Us To Hold" - Hayden

Perhaps my favourite Canadian album is Hayden's The Closer I Get released in 1998. It's one of those you can just put on and get lost in. "Between Us To Hold" is a beautifully simple acoustic track about teaching your girlfriend to play guitar. Only Hayden could make it as heavenly as it became.

33. "Used To Be Alright" - I Mother Earth

It took me a while to get into this one, the 3rd single off I Mother Earth's Scenery And Fish. Once it did though, I was obsessed. Thats how it goes with most unconventional songs I think, once you get passed the initial discomfort you can revel in it's uniqueness. Edwin's vocals are on overdrive in this one too, high, low, high low. Nice.

32. "Misogyny" - Rusty

I'm not too sure what to say about Rusty. A great band that never really got to live up to it's full potential. Thankfully they left behind some truly great songs, "Misogyny" is just one example of that.

31. "Empty Cell" - Rusty

"Empty Cell" is another.

30. "Load Me Up" - Matthew Good Band

The Matthew Good Band dominated the Canadian airwaves in the 90's with albums like Underdogs and Beautiful Midnight. I love the way this song builds and builds to the end. Great guitar solo and really cool video as well.

29. "Quicksand" - Finger Eleven

After changing their name from Rainbow Butt Monkeys, Finger Eleven started picking up some serious steam. Their first album under the new monicker Tip produced 3 singles of which "Quicksand" stood out amongst the crowd. Still it remains one of their best songs even though they are still release quality albums. Sometimes first is best.

28. "Possession" - Sarah McLachlan

She's sailing the ship of female Canadian artists, with that voice, i'd follow her aimlessly as well. "Possession" is a superb song, which took it's lyrics from a letter that Sarah received from an obsessed fan. Hey, if she can see potential in that she deserves a high spot on this list.

27. "The Grace" - Neverending White Lights feat. Dallas Green

Neverending White Lights is Daniel Victor, who along with many fellow Canadian collaborators release a sublime album 2005. The shining jewel of that album was "The Grace" which came with vocals by Dallas Green. Green's pain filled wails accompany the slow, haunted music that Victor composed. Yet you still can't feel a little hope under the surface, 'tis beauty.

26. "The Messenger" - Daniel Lanois/The Tea Party

I couldn't decide which version to honour on this list. Lanois is a visionary songwriter and producer, who has worked with the likes of U2, Brian Eno and Bob Dylan. "The Messenger" is a love song pure and simple. The Tea Party covered it for their 1999 album Triptych which broadened Lanois' audience to the younger generation. I honour them both here. You're goddamned right I did.

The final 25 are next!! Stick 'round.

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